Players from the Florida Gators will have to look out — or look up — because they’re about to get a new team member who holds the title of the tallest teen on Earth.
Seven-foot-six Olivier Rioux, from Montreal, announced that he’ll be joining the men’s basketball team, which represents the University of Florida, last week.
“I am proud to announce that I have commited to the Florida gators for the 2024 season,” Rioux wrote on Instagram.
“I want to thank all my coaches from @imgabasketball and @brookwoodelite in helping me in this process. The adventure continue [sic] in Florida !”
Rioux, who is 17 years old, holds the Guiness World Record for tallest teenager. By comparison, he’s as tall as Yao Ming and taller than Shaquille O’Neal and NBA rookie Victor Wembanyama.
Earlier this year, Rioux told TSN’s Rick Westhead that he thought of his height as a blessing rather than a curse.
“You can use it for almost everything,” he said. “You can use it for being famous. You can use it for basketball, you can use it for the highest shelf in the kitchen or whatever.”
Despite his young age, his towering height has already taken him far in the world of basketball.
Rioux started playing the sport at the age of five and was consistently placed on teams with older children.
At the age of 12, he was invited to shoot hoops in an international tournament in Spain — a momentous marker of his basketball career that captured the awe of the likes of NBA stars Steph Curry and Joel Embiid and shot him to fame.
He’s also played for Team Quebec, Team Canada and as a student athlete at the IMG Academy in Florida, where he currently lives.
It’s possible that while he grows as a basketball player, Rioux, the tallest teen on Earth, will grow taller, too.